Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts produced a magnificent first round of 60 during day one of the Portugal Masters.
The former Ryder Cup star came so close to achieving the first ever sub-60 round on the European Tour with a long-range putt on the 18th but it missed agonisingly by inches. But the 31 year-old can hardly complain with his outstanding round that has put him three shots clear of nearest challenger Alexander Levy and Scotland's Scott Jamieson on 11-under par.
Jamieson teed off early and set the pace after his round of 63 which included nine birdies. The only blemish on his card was on the 17th, his eighth, when he found the water hazard and had to settle for a bogey six.
But his lead didn't last long as Colsaerts played superbly throughout. Birdies on the first, fourth and fifth and then four more birdies in succession on the back nine gave him a tie of the lead.
A eagle on the par-four 15th gave him a real possibility of achieving a round of 59, especially after picking up another eagle on hole 17 but he failed the birdie the final hole, coming within millimeters of a magical round of 59.
Colsaerts, who looked likely to break his second European Tour record in as many months after his record 447-yard drive last month, was disappointed he failed on the 18th green and couldn't achieve the 59 stroke round.
"Still can't believe that putt on 18 didn't drop for magical 59 #personalbest," Colsaerts later tweeted.
He told the European Tour's website: "When I made eagle on 15, I knew then that if I birdied the last three, that would have been 59."
When speaking about his final putt, Colsaerts admitted that he slightly misread it but praised the setting of the Oceanico Victoria Golf Club in Vilamoura.
"I thought it was going to be slightly left to right at the end and it kind of went straight and basically just left it hanging. Too bad, I thought it was a pretty good effort, especially with these dark clouds that we saw at the back. It's a great setting," Colsaerts added.
Colsaerts was fortunate to finish his round just before play was abandoned after heavy rain flooded the course.
Jamieson and Levy also managed to finish their rounds of eight-under par but Spain's Adrian Otaegui was only through 14 holes before the weather halted his day as he sat on seven-under par. Fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello managed to complete his 18 holes and is also on seven-under.
Jamieson was pleased with his round, especially after the fast start he had made.
Jamieson said on Sky Sports: "It was fantastic. I got off to a great start, five under through seven holes on the back nine. I fancied my chances of getting on 17 in two but went in the water.
"But I tried to stay patient. I knew I was playing well and I was able to finish off with two birdies."
Levy managed a bogey free round and carded five birdies on the front nine to have a share of second with Jamieson.
David Lynn is attempting to defend the trophy and produced a round of 65 along with fellow Englishman Danny Willett and Chile's Felipe Aguilar.
Scotland's Chris Doak finished fifth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last week and continued his good form by also shooting a round of 65.
Back down to earth
Oliver Wilson, who won his first European Tour title last week, was brought back down to earth with a disappointing opening round of one-over par.
Meanwhile, European's victorious captain Paul McGinley shot a four-under par 67 to end day one in a tie for 18th.
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